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Case study: Connecting data for patient benefit

The healthcare challenge

Patient care is carried out by many health and social care services who can be geographically spread out and may not communicate efficiently with each other. Travelling backwards and forwards between primary care and acute hospital care means that a patient and their family/carers can be seen by many care professionals in different settings.

Because most NHS IT systems are specific to a particular organisation or service, patient information isn’t always joined-up. This means that the picture which clinicians have of their patient could be incomplete. Providing joined-up information means the right information is available at the right time to the right people.

Giving out-of-hours GPs, hospital consultants, pharmacists, occupational therapists, community nursing teams and social care practitioners access to accurate, timely records about the patients they are treating – with their consent – is our key goal.

Solution/outcomes to date

In the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire health community, 100 GP Practices, 3 local authorities and eight health organisations are using the Connecting Care shared care record programme. It is already live and bringing significant benefit to patients and care professionals, particularly in the urgent care setting. A local shared care record provides care professionals with a summary of information about their patient which includes:

  • The GP record (including contact, diagnoses, medications and allergies)
  • Information about contacts with out of hours, hospital, community and social care
  • Notes from any community nurse visits and appointments
  • Information about end-of-life wishes

Around 980,000 people are covered by this innovative programme and the shared care record is routinely accessed by in excess of 700 care professionals.

Work is now underway to extend the breadth of information in Connecting Care, including information from mental health, social care and ambulance services. In the Bath and North East Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Swindon communities, the development of a shared care record programme is underway, using the experience of the Connecting Care programme.

Support from the West of England AHSN

We have connected people across the organisations to share knowledge and experience to develop a system which is highly effective. Our Informatics team helps to co-ordinate a picture about how health professionals are working together to support visibility of patient information. They also assist with NHS England, the National Information Board and Health and Social Care Information Centre to engage with each other, to both apply their insight to enhance the project and spread best practice across the healthcare community. In addition, we have been instrumental in driving forward an approach that includes the public perspective

This works supports the aims of the NHS Five Year Forward view – to raise its game on health technology, radically improving patients’ experience of interacting with the NHS and improve the ability of the NHS to undertake research and apply innovation.


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